This multi-day tour from Cusco to Machu Picchu will lead you on Salkantay trek, which is the second-most popular route to Peru's most famous Incan ruin. It's not hard to see why Salkantay is such an incredible route thanks to its beautiful and diverse scenery. On this 4-day tour, you will make your way through breathtaking snowcapped-mountains and picturesque narrow valleys, passing beautiful lakes and waterfalls along the way.
You will get to visit the glacier-capped, 20,574-foot Mount Salcantay (Savage Mountain), which is considered a sacred spot by locals, as well as the much warmer and lusher cloud forest. Finally, towards the end of your tour, you will join the Inca Trail for a bit before making your way to Macchu Picchu by way of Llaqtapata.
Day 1: Cusco – Soraypampa – Huayracpunku
Start your first day with a pickup from your Cusco accommodation between 4:30 am and 6:30 am (depending on your location). Then, drive to Soraypampa (3900 m), arriving at approximately 8:30 am. Once there, you will eat breakfast and begin your Salkantay trek! You will start with a 4-hour walk up to Soyrococha (4400 m / 14430 ft), where a freshly-prepared lunch will be awaiting you. On the way to Soyrococha, you will see a range of native flora and fauna such as the Andean goose (the love birds), deer and vizcachas (similar to rabbits).
After lunch, hike for about one hour longer until you reach Salkantay Pass (4650 m/ 15255 ft). Once at the summit, get a chance to explore the amazing landscape of the area, including a beautiful lake at the base of this majestic mountain. From the top, it will be another 3-hour downhill hike to the campsite at Wayracmachay (3800 m/ 12467 ft). Once you arrive, there will be snacks and hot drinks waiting for you. Your tent will also be set up for your arrival. Spend the evening resting and soaking up the scenery before eating dinner and heading to bed.
Day 2: Wayrampunku – Challway – La Playa
Wake up early and enjoy a hot cup of coffee, cocoa or tea as you look out over the huge plains and snow-capped mountains that surround your campsite. After breakfast, start your downhill hike from the highlands to the cloud forest. Get ready to experience a rapid change in the temperature, from the cold weather of the Andes to the warm tropical forest. On the way down, you will see an abundance of different types of flowers, hummingbirds, and orchids before arriving at Colpapampa (located at 2770 meters).
Once at Colpapampa, take a break for lunch and say goodbye to the horsemen who have accompanied you. After lunch, it's time for a 4-hour hike both up and downhill headed that will take you to La Playa (located at 2070 meters). Look out for beautiful waterfalls along the way. You will also pass local coffee, avocado and banana plantations.
Day 3: La Playa – Llaqtapata – Hydroelectric – Aguas Calientes
Day three is arguably the most beautiful of your Salkantay trek! Wake up and enjoy a hearty breakfast before making your way up to Lucmabamba (2000 m / 6600 ft). Once there, you will join an original, ancient Inca trail that was built in the 15th century and only rediscovered a few years ago. Hike for about 3 hours uphill until reaching Llaqtapata, another extraordinary Inca ruin located right in front of Machu Picchu. Once there, you will have time to explore the site and learn about Inca history from your guide.
After that, prepare for a relatively easy 2-hour downhill trek to our lunch spot. After lunch, you will take the train or hike (optional) to Aguas Calientes, arriving at around 5 pm. End your night with dinner at a local restaurant before spending the night in a hotel.
DAY 4: Machu Picchu (Lost City of the Incas)
On the last day of the tour, you will wake up very early to prepare for the highlight of your trip - Visiting Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas. Head straight to the bus stop so you can catch the first bus of the day to Machu Picchu at 5:30 am. You will arrive as the sun is coming up, then you will hike for an hour up to the Sun Gate, taking in spectacular views of the city along the way. If it's a clear day, you will be able to watch the spectacular sunrise over Machu Picchu, which is an unforgettable experience.
After that, you will be lead on a 2 to 3-hour comprehensive tour of the city before getting some free time to explore Machu Picchu on your own. If you'd like, you can climb either Huayna Picchu or Machu Picchu Mountain (tickets must be booked as far in advance as possible). Your guide will explain how to take the bus from Machu Picchu back to Aguas Calientes for lunch (not included) and then take the train and bus back to Cusco. Once back at Cusco, your guide will meet and return you safely to your hotel.
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